(3.5) I re-watched Burton's Batman the other day and found it disappointing but watching this for the first time (24 years late) I was pretty impressed. It feels like Burton got to make a film more in his own style, darker and weirder than the first Batman, and DeVito and particularly Pfeiffer are great.
Although lacking the raw, visceral power of the original, BATMAN RETURNS improves upon its predecessor's clunkier parts (dialog, plot, tone). Given free rein by the studio, Tim Burton pile-drives his artistic credo ('it's okay to be a freak') while leaning on the stunning production and costume design. Then there is Keaton's Batman and Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman. Their sadomasochism as unflinching modern romance.
I don't care what the comic book fans say. It's a great film and one of the most creative super hero films yet. You can take any 5 minutes from it and they will have more personality than all of the bland Marvel films combined even though people go crazy for those today. I miss the time when Burton was this inspired. His cartoony darkness was once interesting and entertaining instead of gimmick. Excellent film.